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Reading and Phonics

Read, Write Inc

Phoneme = sound.

Grapheme = letter(s) that represent a sound.

At Atlas, we teach children to convert a letter or group of letters into sounds that can be blended together to make a word.

To teach phonics, we follow the ‘Read Write Inc’ phonics scheme.

We aim to enable your child to;

Learn to recognise the 44 sounds and their corresponding letter(s).

Learn to read words using sound blending.

Learn to write the letter(s) which represent the 44 sounds.

Learn to write words by saying the sounds.

The sounds are arranged into 3 sets, known as ‘Speed Sounds’.

You will notice that some sounds are made using single letters, others comprise 2 or more letters. When introducing children to a sound, emphasise, that where the sound has multiple letters, we still only say just one sound. This can be a hard concept for children to begin to understand.


Speed Sounds Set 1
m  a  s  d  t
i   n  p  g  o
c  k  u  b
f  e  l  h  sh
r  j  v  y  w
th  z  ch  q  x  ng  nk


Speed Sounds Set 2
ay   ee   igh   ow   oo   oo   ar
or   air  ir   ou   oy


Speed Sounds Set 3 (introduces children to alternative spelling of the same sound, e.g. ay, a-e, ai)
ea   oi   a-e   i-e   o-e   aw  are   ur
er   ow  ai   oa   ew   ire  ear
ure   tious   tion


Children work through learning the speed sounds, starting with set 1 in reception. The children progress through learning these sounds at different rates. Each sound has a picture and a phrase to accompany it. This is designed to help the children to remember the sound and letter formation.

Teaching Strategies

Praise constantly!

Encourage your child to say the sound and then say the phrase. (see the chart below for phrases.)

Have a selection of words written down containing the given sound. Your child can then look at the words and pick out the sound they are learning. Ask your child to have a go at ‘Fred talking’ the word and then blending the sounds together to read the word. These words are all known as ‘green words’.

Fred Talk

Fred is a character who speaks only in sounds. When introducing children to new words, first encourage them read in ‘Fred talk’. This means, saying each sound in the word. Each sound must be very clear and distinct so children can blend. Demonstrate to your child first if necessary.

So c-a-t =cat, ch-i-p =chip, l-igh -t =light

Please avoid exaggerating each sound, for example, cuh-a-tuh, chuh-i-puh, luh-igh-tuh.

Red Words

Red words are common/high frequency words with an uncommon spelling e.g. said, would, bought. These cannot be sounded out and must just be learnt. These can be found at the bottom of this page.

Tips to help at home

  • When blending with your child, use only letter sounds, not letter names (the alphabet) as this can be confusing when trying to sound out the words.
  • Little and often is most effective.
  • Look at lots of print in the environment and pick out letters and words with your child.
  • Use ‘fred talk’ in everyday life. For example, ‘let’s go and get your c-oa-t’ or ‘time for b-e-d’

Phrases and pictures for each sound

Set 1

Sound Saying
m Down Maisie, mountain, mountain and flick.
a Round the apple, down the leaf and flick.
s Slither down the snake.
d Round the dinosaur’s bottom, up his tall neck, down to his feet and flick.
t Down the tower and curl, then across the tower.
i Down the insect’s body, curl and a dot for the head.
n Down Nobby, up over his net and flick.
p Down the pirate’s plait, up and over his face.
g Round the girl’s face, down her hair and give her a curl.
o All around the orange.
c Curl around the caterpillar.
k Down the kangaroo’s body, (pen off) tail and leg.
u Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and draw a puddle.
b Down the laces to the heel, round the toe.
f Down the stem and draw the leaves.
e Lift off the top and scoop out the egg.
l Down the long leg and curl.
h Down the head to the hooves and over his back and flick.
sh Slither down the snake. Down the head to the hooves and over his back and flick.
r Down his back, then curl over his arm.
j Down his body, curl and dot.
v Down a wing, up a wing.
y Down a horn, up a horn and under his head.
w Down, up, down, up.
th Down the tower and curl, then across the tower.

Down the head to the hooves and over his back and flick.

z Zig-zag-zig.
ch Curl around the caterpillar. Down the head to the hooves and over his back and flick.
q Round her head, up past her earrings and down her hair.
x Down the arm and leg and repeat the other side.
ng No handwriting rhyme.
nk No handwriting rhyme.

Set 2

Sound Phrase Picture
ay ‘may I play?’ Children playing with toys
ee ‘what can you see?’ Child looking through binoculars.
igh ‘fly high.’ Child holding a kite.
ow ‘blow the snow.’ Polar bear blowing snow.
oo ‘poo at the zoo.’ Zoo keeper holding a spade and bucket!
oo ‘look at a book.’ Children reading a book.
ar ‘start the car.’ People in a car.
or ‘shut the door.’ Alien closing spaceship door.
air ‘that’s not fair.’ Mother eating cakes in front of children
ir ‘whirl and twirl.’
ou ‘shout it out.’ shouting
oy ‘toy for a boy.’ Boy and toy robot.

Set 3

Sound Phrase Picture
oi ‘spoil the boy.’ Boy being given presents.
a-e ‘make a cake.’ Making a cake.
i-e ‘nice smile.’ Child smiling.
o-e ‘phone home’ Alien on phone.
u-e ‘huge brute.’
aw ‘yawn at dawn.’ Birds yawning.
are ‘share and care.’ Sharing food.
ur ‘nurse with a purse.’ Nurse and purse.
er ‘a better letter.’ Man holding letter.
ai ‘snail in the rain.’ Snail in rain.
oa ‘goat in a boat.’ Goat in boat.
ew Chew the stew Eating stew.
ire ‘Fire, fire!’ Running from fire.
ear ‘hear with your ear.’
ure ‘sure it’s pure.’ Witch giving potion.
oi ‘spoil the boy.’ Boy being given presents.
a-e ‘make a cake.’ Making a cake.